Ramekin is thought to come from a Dutch word for "toast" or the German for "little cream."




Ramequin, Ramekin dish.


(ramə kin)[RAM-ih-kihn]ræməkin


English Noun




A type of dish




French Ramequin from Low German ramken, diminutive of cream, circa 1706. middle Dutch rammeken (cheese dish) dialect variant of rom (cream), similar to old English ream and German rahm. Ancient French cookbooks refer to ramekins as being garnished fried bread.


1. A food mixture, (casserole) specifically a preparation of cheese, especially with breadcrumbs and/or eggs or unsweetened pastry baked on a mould or shell.

2. With a typical volume of 50-250 ml (2-8 oz), it is a small fireproof glass or earthenware individual dish similar in size and shape to a cup, or mould used for cooking or baking and serving sweet or savoury foods.

3. Formerly the name given to toasted cheese; now tarts filled with cream cheese.

4. A young child usually between the ages of 3 months and 11 years exhibiting a compulsion to force or "ram" their head into various objects and structures.

These days, a ramekin is generally regarded as a small single serve heatproof serving bowl used in the preparation or serving of various food dishes, designed to be put into hot ovens and to withstand high temperatures. They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface. Ramekins have more lately been standardized to a size with a typical volume of 50-250 ml (2-8 ounce) and are now used for serving a variety of sweet and savoury foods, both entrée and desert.

They are also an attractive addition to the table for serving nuts,dips and other snacks. Because they are designed to hold a serving for just one person, they are usually sold in sets of four, six, or eight. Ramekins now are solid white, round, with a fluted texture covering the outside, and a small lip. Please bear in mind that whatever you ask for them on Internet auction sites, someone is still getting the same thing in an op shop for peanuts.

However, there are hundreds of decorative ramekins that came in a variety of shapes and sizes. They came in countless colours and finishes and many were made by our leading artists and ceramicists. My collection has ramekins with One handle only, fixed to the body at one point only. If it has no handle, it is a bowl. If it has two, it is a casserole dish. But the glory day of the Australian Studio Art ramekin is well and truly over. See some here, ask questions or leave answers.

P.S. Remember, just as real men don't eat quiche, real ramekins don't have lids or two handles. Also remember, two handles makes it a casserole dish. Also, please note If it aint got a handle, it's just a bowl.

P.P.S. To all you cretins who advertise your ramekins by associating them with "Eames" or "Eames Era". Get your hand off it, you are not kidding anyone. The Eames people have told me that they never made ramekins.

P.P.P.s To all the illiterates out there in cyberspace, just as there is no "I" in team, there is no "G" in Ramekin. I am the Rameking, they are ramekins.

If you have a set of Grandma's ramekins at the back of a kitchen cupboard, have a look through the site, maybe you will identify them. Thank-you for looking.

There are many of you out there that have knowledge of Australian pottery. Please let me know if you have anything that I can add to the notes. It is important to get the information recorded. You probably know something that nobody else does.

Please note that while your comments are most welcome, any that contain a link to another site will no longer be published.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011



Moulded “TAMS England” to base
Press moulded slipware ramekin with matching saucer.  Roundel moulding to exterior and on saucer.  Deep blue gloss glaze to entire body.
Very good with small fleabites to rim of ramekin.

Production Date
Typical 1970s design
Length (with handle)
Soda Tree Café and Collectables, Montrose Victoria 10 Dec 2011.
Rameking Reference Number
TAM 001-012

A Staffordshire Winter is usually wet and cold; a fitting backdrop to what was about to happen.  Under clear skies, on Friday the 11th February 2000, Angela Tams visited all five premises operated by Tams Ltd to shake hands and personally say goodbye to all 730 workers.  Still desperately sad and grieving after the death of her husband Gerald, who had lost his six-year battle with stomach cancer the previous October, Angela, former Deputy Chair had taken over from him as Chair of one of the last great family owned pottery works in England.  Gerald had planned to retire the following September on his 60th birthday.  He didn't make it. Unfortunately, Lloyds Bank called in their loans and Tams were unable to pay.   The Receivers from KPMG had moved in and the premises closed.  If you visit the area, you can still wander around their deserted factory piled with the now dusty unfinished crockery, moulds and paperwork.  

Tams had operated as a pottery in Staffordshire from 1875 until 2006.  The company had been started by John Tams after splitting with William Lowe in Longton in 1873.   John and William had gone into business together about 1865 at the St, Gregory’s Pottery, High Street Longton.  John was the son of James Tam and his wife Anne (Proctor) and was born in Stafford Street Longford in 1837.  In his youth, John was apprenticed as a potter, and after his partnership with William Lowe was dissolved, John bought the Crown Pottery in Longford at the corner of Commerce and High Streets.  John married Mary Kent, the daughter of Charles Kent, a draper, of Red Bank Cottage, Dresden, where John Tams and his wife were living in 1881. Later they lived at St. Edmund's Villa, Ricardo Street, and from 1898 at The Hayes, Stone.  They lived in Trentham and went on to have four children, John, Mary, Joseph and Dinah.  John retired from the business in 1918 and died on the 17th May 1919. 

Gerald Tams, Managing Director was the great grandson of the founder and had spent four years studying for a Diploma in ceramics at the Staffordshire Polytechnic.  For over 20 years he had worked in every area of the family business.  Gerald and his cousin Paul Tams, former Director and Sales Manager, had been groomed to take over the works since they joined in 1960.  In 1984, Gerald bought out Paul who went on to become a Farmer.  He also bought out another eight family members.  Following this, Gerald moved from earthenware to making bone china.  Sales increased and the 1980s became the most profitable in their more than 100 year history.  Institutions were more than happy to buy shares.  In 1988, Gerald had bought “Duchess China” at a bargain basement price and by the early 1990s, sales exceeded ₤30m.

Crown Lynn (New Zealand) bought Royal Grafton Fine China from Tams in the early 1970s. (More likely they just bought the name as the Royal Grafton factory closed in 1972)  The New Zealanders were looking to expand into the UK and saw the acquisition of a local works as way of circumventing import quotas.  They believed that the Ottowa Agreement had made it difficult for New Zealand to compete in Britain.  They saw this acquisition as a means of accessing the US market.  In 1960, almost half of New Zealand’s ceramic production was exported to the U.K, yet thirty years later, almost all was imported.  Corporate neglect has been blamed for the ultimate demise of Crown Lynn.  On the 5th of May 1989 it was announced that Crown Lynn would close.  The plant and equipment was sent to Goh Ban Huat Berhad in Malaysia.  Curiously, Temuka Homewares, part of Pacific Retail Group Ltd is a good selling line of ceramic tableware.  Pacific are the owners of Ceramco who bought out Crown Lynn.  These ramekins are typical of the period and are similar to those made by Crown Lynn.

In 2002 Tams was the biggest ceramic employer in Longton and one of the biggest mugs manufacturers in Europe.  The company’s principal works was the Crown Works  at what is now the Strand in Longton.  They also had the Blythe, Sutherland and Atlas works in Longton, plus a warehouse at the old Monarch flatware site in Fenton; Tams Group Limited having been formed in April 2000.  It was a management buy in of part of the former John Tams Group PLC, that went into receivership in February 2000. In 2006 that group again went into receivership and finally closed.  The company had fallen victim to the strong value of the Pound, cheap Asian imports and a declining domestic market due to the increased use of plastics.  The company had always exported to Australia and other Asian countries but these markets had also contracted sharply.

The company had always been run by the Tams family; even after it went public in 1988, four years after Gerald had organized a buyout in 1984.  The family still owned 70%.  Tams Group Ltd had purchased the rights to Tams, Royal Grafton and Grafton Living from Alfred B Jones and Sons Ltd, marketing these brands and still manufacturing in Longton, Stoke on Trent.  Sadly, debts led to the company being placed into receivership when their overdrafts, said to be around ₤2.5million, were called in.  The Tams brand continued for a further six years when the company name was bought out and they carried on with mug production until 2006 when further financial problems signaled the end of the Tams name.

Angela went on to become High Sheriff of Staffordshire in 2006, the role being mostly ceremonial and later Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire.  Since 2008, she was a volunteer with the charity "The Compassionate Friends."  She has now retired, But at age 68, don't count her out yet.

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